WHAT ABOUT RUNNING A SOFTWARE COMPANY IS KEEPING YOU UP AT NIGHT?
There’s not much about running a software company keeping me up at night, but if there’s one thing that does keep me up at night, it’s that my daughter just got her Texas driver’s license! Having said that, corporate culture is always fragile, and I want to ensure Epicor is a great place to work and a great place to build a career. I spend as much time as possible supporting that goal. Employee engagement is the reason I moved from California to Texas, where I now live just a short distance from our Austin headquarters.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS?
My key metric right now is the growth rate of our cloud business. Cash flow is a close second. These two are interrelated, of course, and not always in sync. The shift to the cloud is significant from a revenue model perspective, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. One of my personal commitments is to expand our company wide knowledge of SaaS technology (and its limitations). I think there are many in the software industry who fear getting “caught out” as to how much they don’t know about the technology behind SaaS. We need to be knowledgeable to clearly communicate the technical and business challenges and benefits around the cloud to help empower our customers to make the shift.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE ABOUT FINANCING THE GROWTH OF A BUSINESS?
Borrow as little as you can when growing and be scrappy and thrifty where you can. Follow these rules, and you’ll have more latitude to be generous with your top performers.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE CUSTOMER SUCCESS?
A successful customer is someone who feels empowered to use our technology to grow and go after their dreams. ERP is an amazingly powerful system that can do many things for companies, but every customer will have different goals, problems, and industry-specific requirements. We’re working very hard to make our ERP solution the easiest to use, the most configurable, and with rich, industry-specific functionality that supports our customers’ needs to be agile, responsive, and competitive.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Our biggest challenge right now is getting our customers to overcome their anxiety about the cloud. The cloud provides significant benefits (especially for midmarket companies). Today, organizations need technology to create new and different outcomes quickly without the pain and overhead of systems of the past. Many companies want to go into new markets and operationally they can do so, but they don’t have the systems in place to execute.
WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN’T LEADING A SOFTWARE COMPANY?
I really love being a CEO, but if I wasn’t doing this, I’d probably be a college professor. I love math, physics, and teaching.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED FROM A PEER?
I’ve been told to be “impeccable” with my words. As a CEO, it’s your responsibility to manage a high-performing executive management team. To be effective, you must be deliberate, accurate, and fair.
WHAT IS THE BEST BUSINESS BOOK ON YOUR SHELF?
“Against the Gods” by Peter Bernstein. It’s the best book ever written about how to take measured risk and outperform the competition.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?
Make the toughest decisions every day before lunch and never use email when you can talk on the phone or meet in person. I’m a big believer in dealing with tough decisions in a straightforward, expeditious, and energetic manner. Ninety percent of the time, a decision can be made right away. Be decisive, accept the consequences, and then be willing to adjust quickly as needed.
STEVE MURPHY, CEO
Epicor Software Corporation